Ask And Ye Shall Receive…but what if there are strings attached?

I’ve been working on “manifesting” for a while now. The idea that if you put something out there—offer up a need or request, ask for assistance—you will manifest, or make real, that very thing.

Is this praying? Perhaps.

But even that practiced form of manifesting feels abstract for a left-brain-leaning, right-brain person such as me. I’m on a computer most of the day—when I need something or want something to happen, I just push a button.

But there are no buttons for some of the things we hope for: safe travels, good health, peace of mind, courage.

And there are no buttons for some of the things to which we aspire.

And so, I’ve been working on manifesting. Last May, I manifested up some hot pink spray paint, but that’s kind of like David Copperfield pulling a coin from behind his ear. What if I want to make the Statue of Liberty disappear?

So I keep practicing.

Last Fall, I manifested a parking space.
Last week, I asked for something bigger.

Last week I asked for something bigger and I got it!

But here’s my dilemma. It has strings attached. Big, thick, tangled ethical strings.

I am reminded of that parable about the man trapped on a roof during a flood. While he’s praying to God, there are several attempts to rescue him but he refuses. He dies, and when he gets to heaven, he asks God “Why didn’t you save me?” And God says, “What are you talking about, I sent you a rowboat and a helicopter?”

I don’t want to be the one second-guessing divine intervention here. But if I ask, and the rowboat that arrives is made from indigenous rainforest trees and the helicopter was built by child laborers…

Yup. We’re talking those kind of strings. I manifested something I need, but the consequence of accepting it means compromising things I believe.

My head is struggling with this. My heart is not.

So as the left-brain debates and the right-brain digs in, “we” are reminded of a lovely manifesto I read several years ago by professor and author Brené Brown:

Pray that I make the most authentic decision.

• • •

Authenticity text and art © Brené Brown. You can download your own Authenticity manifesto and other inspiring things at Bréne’s website.

Photo ©2011, Jen Payne, Rockport, Mass.

12 thoughts on “Ask And Ye Shall Receive…but what if there are strings attached?

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  1. wow – that is a dilemma – for some people, maybe not so much, but for people with a conscience – ’tis a puzzlement

    i hope you go with your heart and live with little or no regrets about it – best wishes for optimal outcome!


    1. The more I sit with it, the more I realize it’s just the Universe asking me to be clear about my intentions – again. “You say you want this, but at what cost?” She and I have been here before!

  2. I liked this a lot. I have the similar feelings about “The Secret” — asking the “universe” for what I want feels a little like ordering what kind of ice cream I want at Baskin & Robbins. Who’s to say I need ice cream? What if what I really needed was lessons in polite interaction with service staff?

    interesting post, thank you!

    1. I suppose, whether you get Mint Chocolate Chip or a positive customer service experience, you have been given what you were needing. Keep the faith about that, right?

  3. Like they say, “Be careful what you wish for.” Just the same, I feel that we need to make a concerted effort to make our wishes come true, also. If I want to win the lottery, for example, I’ve got to go out and diligently buy the lottery tickets.

    Your dilemma is the same as what my son is going through. He is job hunting. He’s very well qualified for many of the positions he has applied for. Even though employers want to hire him. He has turned down a few, based upon the ethics upon which these companies run. I truly hope he gets what he really wants. But, at which point does necessity overtake one’s own values? I wonder.

    1. Very true. When do we make those compromises and when do we not? Tough call, especially when the need weighs more heavily!

  4. Will we get to know?
    Not simply out of mere curiosity (although that too).
    But knowing people’s actual actions is one of the most helpful spurs (I find) to making my own decisions. Not that I do, or don’t do, something because you do, or don’t do, it. But how you decided, that’s key.
    (And I really get no help whatever from people who are always doing the “right” thing and spurning their own inclinations or advantages. They are just too good for my blood.)

    1. It IS all about the action isn’t it? I know the answer. I know the decision already, don’t you? It’s how to take the right action – gracefully, gratefully – that is the most difficult step.

      (And yes, if I can put words to it all, I’ll share the decision/outcome.)

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